Black Zone Magick Chant, "Voyage Sacrifice"

The latest liminal low-end odyssey from French shape-shifter Maxime Primault's BZMC entity swaps the screwed alien dancehall of past outings in favor of miasmic subterranean ritual, with compelling results. Born of "a few very intense sessions, in altered states of consciousness," the three sprawling compositions comprising Voyage Sacrifice ooze in slow, smoke-choked darkness, awash with dungeon groans, insectoid noise, reverbed bells, molten bass, and distant demonic mumblings. Primault speaks of recent creative strategies attempting to "delete time, or escape time," at which these pieces certainly succeed, entrancing the listener in their spiral sinkhole infinity: beatless, lightless, limitless.

Occasionally a rusted, lurching metronome emerges, infusing a drugged sense of forward motion, but the essence of Voyage Sacrifice is textural and tantric – "almost like some kind of prayer." Chants are chanted; the zone is black. The specter of dub still looms in the disorienting fog of FX and negative space but ultimately these sides exist outside (and deep beneath) any recognizable sonic lineage. This is cultic, questing music, deprivation chamber hallucinations "beyond good and evil, beyond sense and non-sense."

This Rorschach enigma dimension is foundational, as Primault admits: "It's a mental journey. I handled the sacrifice; the voyage is yours."

More information can be found here.

3863 Hits

Deaf Center, "Low Distance"

Low Distance is Deaf Center´s third full-length studio album and perhaps the most focused effort by the Norwegian duo to date. After their last record Owl Splinters (2011) was quite an eclectic endeavor, Erik K Skodvin & Otto A Totland draw their sound back into something more quiet and minimal.

The record starts with a piece of sweeping analougue electronics. It is a spacious, yet dynamic opener that leads directly into the static tones and piano motifs of "Entity Voice," which balances a new sense of abstraction with the classic Deaf Center sound. It's warm and close while sounding like it's set in the outer horizon. Overall Low Distance feels both alien and familiar with its atonal synths, close pianos and drowned-out noises.

After meeting in studio for the first time since 2011, the recordings came out of a 3-day session in 2017. It was then mixed at both EMS Stockholm and at Erik's home studio over a longer period to create a blend of deeply layered as well as stripped-down pieces. Both Erik & Otto have been active individually since their last meeting as Deaf Center: Otto released 2 solo piano albums, while Erik has furthered his descent into musical abstraction both under his own name and as Svarte Greiner. It is long overdue to hear them connect their personalities into something new. Low Distance is a welcome return replete with beauty, mystery and uncertainty.

More information can be found here.

3539 Hits

Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree, "The Fridman Variations"

Both Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree are seasoned collaborators. Each new collaboration is a new context, a new conversation and a unique opportunity to learn. Vitiello has worked with musicians such as Scanner, Steve Roden, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Machinefabriek. As an artist often represented in galleries and large scale sound installations he has also had the frequent opportunity to work with visual artists from the likes of Tony Oursler to Julie Mehretu and Joan Jonas. Deupree has a long history of collaboration including early works with Christopher Willits and Richard Chartier as well as Marcus Fischer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Bon Iver’s S. Carey. Fridman Variations is Vitiello and Deupree's third release together and continues their tradition of exploring their unique form of experimental improvisation.

Stemming from a live performance at NYC's Fridman Gallery, Fridman Variations was co-produced by the gallery and will remain as part of the gallery’s publications. Fridman Gallery is a visual exhibition space that also boasts a unique dedication to experimental music through their annual New Ear Festival, at which Vitiello and Deupree performed and recorded the main piece for this album.

Side A of Fridman Variations is the live recording, edited for vinyl while side B contains two pieces made with some of the same source material as the live performance and intended to be related, but entirely new, works. Guitar, modular synthesizer and a small tape synthesizer are at the heart of these songs. The improved layers draw on buried melodies and hint of field recordings and found textures. Not overly melodic, not overly noisy, Vitiello and Deupree like to find the edge between the pretty and the obscure, often suggesting more than laying their intentions bare. This type of sound is one that the duo often explores as an opportunity for Deupree to adventure beyond his melodic comfort zone and for Vitiello to work and experiment with new instruments and how they interact with his signature guitar.

One of the biggest inspirations to the artists for this work was the hushed and dreamy state of the audience during the performance. The late-night ambience added to the immersive quality of the surround speakers and helped to channel creativity and a sense of sharing.

Both artists feel that recording live performances is an opportunity to capture a unique moment that simply won’t happen again. Despite a performance’s flaws or imperfections the energy and interaction is a special moment in time for the performers and audience. The opportunity to not only document it for the listeners who were present but also to be able to share the moment with those who weren't there is a positive one. To further be able to expand on the ideas in the controlled studio environment serves to enrich the experience and further the communication.

More information can be found here.

3329 Hits

Nodding God, "Wooden Child"

Nodding God were formed 666 years ago by Andrew Liles, David Tibet, and The UnderAge Shaitan-Boy in a Boys-Only preparatory boarding school in Babylon, since shut down by unfortunate events that took place there, in the night, in the dark.

Their first album, Wooden Child, is released on House Of Mythology in May 2019. Sung 93% in Akkadian by David, who has studied this language for many years, this New Baby God Who Nods—a Nodding God, a Godding Nod—Wooden Child is powered by Stars and Cuneiform and Pop and Drop and One Thousand Liles In One Thousand Axes.

Additional cryptic information can be found here and here.

3398 Hits

Keith Fullerton Whitman, "Late Playthroughs"

As we approach the 20-year anniversary of the breaking of ground on the "Playthroughs" systems, I have begun performing the piece again on request, first at the Kranky 15th Anniversary party in Chicago, then at l'Auditori in Barcelona, finally picking up again for a trio of performances in late 2018, two of which are presented here in their unexpurgated states, exactly as they were performed & intended, with the "live to semiconductor" signals mixed with their in-situ environmental ambiances.

The settings of these two improvised performances; specifically, the Modern Art wing of a European Museum, then an outdoor floodplain in rural Western Japan flanked by mountains in all directions, couldn't have been any different, and so these two stagings, specifically, run at opposite sides of the possibility-sets of the piece: placid, calm, measured (Nantes) then wild, risk-enabled, chaotic (Naeba).

In addition to the two continuous performances, each broken up into three indexed "episodes", I'm including 10 still images taken during the time surrounding the performances, to give you further context on the music & its whereabouts.

More information can be found here.

3319 Hits

Alberich, "Quantized Angel"

Few contemporary industrial acts are spoken of in such highly reverential terms as Alberich, the solo project of underground super-producer Kris Lapke. While Lapke himself may best be known for his production and mastering work, both for such diverse sounding acts like Prurient, Nothing and the Haxan Cloak to his audio restoration work for Coum Transmissions and Shizuka, Alberich has achieved a cult on par with many of the legends he works with.

Lapke's diverse contributions as a producer are recognizable for the perfect balance of maximalist and minimalist electronics that Alberich has relentlessly authored. Since Alberich's 2010 masterful and highly collectable 2.5 hour NATO- Uniformen album, he has become a powerful force of modern industrial music. With only a series of limited tape and split releases, fans have been waiting with bated breath for a true follow-up album. The first full-length Alberich album in almost a decade, Quantized Angel will be released April 12, 2019. In the intervening years between albums, Alberich has grown more nuanced, creating atmosphere and tension on par with Silent Servant's classic Negative Fascination LP in regards to production and attention to detail.

The results create a newly polished but no less intense vision of modern industrial music. Over the course of the album’s eight tracks, Alberich demonstrates a vision of ruthless existential electronics, a sound both commanding yet questioning in introspective spirit.

More information can be found here.

3079 Hits

William Ryan Fritch, "Deceptive Cadence: Music for Film Vol. I & II"

Film composer and multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch will release his long-anticipated double album, Deceptive Cadence: Music For Film Volume I & II on May 17th, 2019 via Lost Tribe Sound.

Most of those familiar with Fritch know only of his albums as a singer songwriter or genre-elusive multi-instrumentalist, which truly represent a small fraction of the depth and range of his work. Deceptive Cadence gathers the most remarkable and memorable pieces from Fritch's vast catalog of film compositions. Rather than filling up two volumes with half- assembled film cues and fragmented themes, Fritch has gone to great lengths with Deceptive Cadence to make sure both volumes tell a story, build themes, and create a satisfying full album experience as good as any movie they may have come from.  While this music once graced a particular film, show, or commercial, it has all been reimagined, reworked and made whole in post-production to complete the epic narrative of Deceptive Cadence.

Even fans who remember the release of Music for Film Vol. I in 2015 will be in for a serious treat. Rather than simply reissuing the album alongside the newly minted Volume II, Fritch dove back into the first volume, carving away the fat, leaving only the most breathtaking pieces from the original and replacing the rest with assuredly more mature and enduring compositions. The results of this care are astounding. Keeping in place the emotional sophistication and poise of the original, Fritch seamlessly entwines new classical motifs into the existing, enhancing everything for the better. It has provided Volume I with a newfound sense of regality, romance and legend.

While Volume II compliments Volume I exceptionally well, much of the music was selected from more recent films.  Volume II eagerly shares the progression of Fritch's work over the last few years, reveling in a newfound subtlety, patience and confidence as his skills as a composer have advanced. There’s a more minimal and spatially aware approach at play here. Quiet and unhurriedness become the heroine of the story. With Volume II, Fritch has been consistently practicing his craft, refining his unique minimalist/maximalist approach to better support the emotional impact of the lead melodies. Dispersed sparingly throughout, are some of the most long-form ambient classical compositions of Fritch's career, offering a wonderful chance for listeners to become immersed in waves of drone-like strings, submerged piano melodies, and light-bending arrangements. Volume II undeniably deepens the well of talent and world-building that Fritch has shared with us thus far, and binds together multiple film works into a complete and captivating whole.

 

3596 Hits

Marisa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky, "Droneflower"

Droneflower is in bloom. The new collaboration between Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man), is a sprawling and expansive exercise in contrasts. It is the sound of the war between the brutal and the ethereal, the dark and the light, the past and the present, and the real and imagined.

Brodsky met Nadler for the first time in 2014 at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar when he came to see her play on her July tour, and they quickly became friends. Both of them had been wanting to explore songwriting that didn't fit into their existing projects, and they soon became energized by the prospect of working together. One of the first ideas they discussed was a horror movie soundtrack, and while Droneflower isn’t that, it is a richly cinematic album. It's easy to imagine much of the record set to images, though it wasn't composed that way.

The first song that came together was "Dead West," based around a beautiful acoustic guitar piece Brodsky wrote while living on Spy Pond, just outside of Nadler's home base in Boston. By the time they started working on the song in earnest, Brodsky had moved to Brooklyn. Nadler added lyrics and vocal melodies remotely, and even from a distance it was obvious there was real kismet in the collaboration.

All the songs on Droneflower were recorded in home studios, and they throb with the frisson of that intimate environment. For much of the recording process, Brodsky would stop by the ramshackle studio that Nadler set up in Boston whenever he was in town visiting family. Songs like "For the Sun" were written on the spot there, lyrics and all. The lush ambient pieces "Space Ghost I" and "Space Ghost II" began as Brodsky piano compositions and were later fleshed out by additional instrumentation and Nadler’s inimitable vocals.

Nadler and Brodsky also recorded two cover songs for the album — the epic Guns n' Roses power ballad "Estranged" and Morphine’s beguiling "In Spite of Me."  Since childhood, Nadler had been transfixed by the "Estranged" video where Axl Rose swam with dolphins, and she and Brodsky breathe new life into the song here. Their take on "In Spite of Me" is invigorated by a guest appearance from Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, who ironically didn't play on the original recording but is indispensable on Nadler and Brodsky's version.

Out April 26th on Sacred Bones.

3301 Hits

Maja S. K. Ratkje, "Sult"

Based upon Ratkje's music created for the ballet ”Sult” (”Hunger") by profiled director Jo Strømgren for the Norwegian National Ballet, this is a departure from records and live settings normally associated with Maja S. K. Ratkje, as we find her placed behind a modified, wiggly and out-of-tune pump organ, singing songs and improvising.

Metal tubes, PVC tubes and a wind machine were built into the organ; guitar strings, a bass string, a resin thread, metal and glass percussion and a bow are also utilized. With little or no previous experience, she had to learn to play the thing live, using both hands and feet at the same time as singing. Maja played live on stage during every performance, but later modified and recorded the music especially for this record, with Frode Haltli co-producing.

It's a freestanding document, an entity of its own, but the atmosphere is very much the same as in the play: the dusty city of Kristiania in the 19th century, the street noises and the sounds. "Hunger" is Norwegian author Knut Hamsun's breakthrough novel from 1890. Partly autobiographical, it describes a starving young man's struggle to make it as a writer in Kristiania (now Oslo). It has been said that the whole modern school of fiction starts with "Hunger," with its themes around mental states and the irrationality of the human mind.

More information can be found here.

3194 Hits

Tavishi, "Voices in My Head"

Voices In My Head is the latest release from the scientist, musician and visual artist Tavishi (Sarmistha Talukdar). Over 9 tracks, she creates a rich, abstract soundscape which explores her in-between status as a foreigner in a country which is hostile to immigrants, a queer woman from a patriarchal Bengali tradition, and an artist-scientist who finds the cold abstractions of academia removed from social reality. Voices In My Head seeks to unite these ruptures in herself and her audience, creating a sense of catharsis and healing.

The album builds and shatters discordant whirls of sound and rhythm, moving between classical Indian tuning and experimental play. "Sitting In A Circle Looking For Corners" layers bells, intimate breaths and pitched cries to show how "the performativeness of expressing gender in a socially acceptable way can be exhausting," Tavishi says. "As if we have to fit something in a square box when the entity is actually circular."

Other tracks are have roots in science. "I Eat Myself Alive" was generated from research data that she published about a process called autophagy, in which cancer cells eats themselves to gain nourishment and survive stressful conditions. Tavishi converted sequences of amino acids into sounds, arranged according to the molecular signaling flowchart. Still, this scientific approach still has a raw, emotional core: "The track is also a reflection on how marginalized members of our society have to often erase parts of themselves to just survive," Tavishi says.

"Satyameva Jayate," a Sanskrit phrase which translates as "Truth triumphs alone," builds into a tumult of repetitive loops and field recordings. "The history, experience and truth of marginalized people is being erased, misrepresented and gaslighted, it can be hard to believe in ourselves," she says. "I made this track to express resilience and that no matter how much our oppressors want to erase our truth, it will triumph in the end."

More information can be found here.

3406 Hits

Caterina Barbieri, "Ecstatic Computation"

Ecstatic Computation by Caterina Barbieri

Caterina Barbieri is an Italian composer who explores themes related to machine intelligence and object-oriented perception in sound through a focus on minimalism.

Following 2017’s acclaimed 2LP Patterns of Consciousness, Ecstatic Computation is the new full-length LP by Caterina Barbieri. The album revolves around the creative use of complex sequencing techniques and pattern-based operations to explore the artefacts of human perception and memory processes by ultimately inducing a sense of ecstasy and contemplation. Computation is turned from being a formal, automatic writing technique into a creative, psychedelic practice to generate temporal hallucinations. A state of trance and wonder where the perception of time is distorted and challenged.

Equally nervous and ecstatic, the fast permutation of patterns can create a state where time stands still whilst simultaneously being in motion. Is this propulsive music moving forward or backward? As long as the perception of the present is constantly enhanced and refreshed in an endless sense of loss, re-discovery and the search for self-orientation this question lies mute aside the thrilling and perplexing moment of the matter at hand.

Out May 3rd on Editions Mego.

3706 Hits

Benoit Pioulard/Sean Curtis Patrick, "Avocationals"

Beacon Sound presents a first-time collaboration between Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) and Sean Curtis Patrick, entitled Avocationals. Over the course of nine songs, the two use synthesizers, reel-to-reel tape machines, field recordings, guitar, and processed voice to conjure the ghosts of 20th century Great Lakes shipwrecks.

Wintery, yet humming throughout with a narcotic warmth, Avocationals offers the listener 41 minutes out of time, evoking not only a distant past but also something of what may lay ahead.

As the artists themselves write, "An avocational is an amateur diver who assists in rescue, investigation and salvage relating to watercraft disasters. Thousands of freighters and small ships sank during the mid-20th century golden age of shipping on the Great Lakes; this album is about nine of them."

More information can be found here.

4490 Hits

Carla dal Forno, "So Much Better"

Carla dal Forno launches her own label, Kallista Records, with her first original single in over a year, "So Much Better."

The widespread success of her debut album You Know What It's Like (2016) and The Garden EP (2017) has seen dal Forno spearhead the latter years of the Blackest Ever Black vanguard. Now the London-based Australian artist turns her attention to releasing original work on her own label, Kallista Records.

This two-track 7-inch record begins a bold year for dal Forno, who takes her lone kosmische misanthropy onto fertile new ground. The a-side single, "So Much Better," sees dal Forno step out from the shadows of emotional ambiguity into the vulnerable territory of anecdotal song-writing. Lyrics that echo the irrational passions of love scorned, in truth reveal a self-assured artist confessing to resentment which propels her. Here is dal Forno chiding herself in the mirror while excoriating an old infatuate with a vocal timbre that sits among the giants: the lilting power of Alison Statton, the mystic shamanism of Una Baines and the post-punk cabaret of Vivien Goldman.

The sparse production on both sides springs from the soft-pedaled cassette of covers, Top of the Pops, which dal Forno self-released last year. Though the raw, dubbed-out vision takes a back seat on "So Much Better," overshadowed by dal Forno’s fork-tongued lyrics, it is heightened on "Fever Walk" with acoustic drum racks ricocheting off fizzing drones, pastoral synth textures and meandering melody in the way of Broadcast, Flying Lizards and Portishead. But the illusion of wide-open spaces belies an oppressive, hysteria-inducing humidity swelling from the studio vision of her past instrumentals like "Dragon's Breath" and "Italian Cinema."  And with a nod to her old band, F ingers, dal Forno’s voice-as-instrument hacks like a machete through her endless jungle of anxiety.

This two track 7-inch, the object of a new existence, reflects dal Forno's life in London working at Low Company recordstore and her monthly radio show on NTS.  All in with the history and tradition of British post-punk and independent music, she strides boldly into the abyss.

Out April 16, 2019 on Kallista.

 

3482 Hits

Celer, "Xièxie"

A week before leaving, I bought a dictionary and phrasebook.

Covered in rain, during the days and even the nights, Shanghai was lit in a glow, a mist turning to a constant grey fog. Buildings lined with neon and lcd screens flashed, and from around corners and behind buildings, the night was illuminated much the same as the day. Cars separated the classes, their horns voices punctuating the streets, as pedestrians in groups loosely scattered the streets, talking and walking on speakerphone.

Standing by the metro escalators, there in the square with the overhanging trees of a park, there is construction all around. The buildings seem to be climbing into the darkness at this very moment. Leaving behind and moving forward. We seem to know everything already, our illusion of experience. I imagine taking your hand, I imagined taking your hand, and the lights in the subway flicker as we go deeper. Transit bookmarks each experience, every daydream, and in the end they're interchangeable and indistinguishable between reality and imagination. Try to remember which is real.

To Hangzhou the maglev reached 303 km/h, the towering apartment buildings hunch under construction, passing by in blurs on the flat farmland landscape. I fell asleep, as you were dancing but to no music. The lilies on the lake nodded in the rain, dipping into the water. There was a Wal-Mart near the hotel where I won a pink bunny from a claw machine. I remember the beauty of the architecture of Hangzhou station, birds swirling around the pillars near the top, the echoes of the deep station interior, and the laughing at being lost. There at least we have each other, that memory, or that daydream.

Everything moves faster than we can control. Days are just flashes, moments are mixed up but burned on film, and all of the places and times are out of order. If it could only be us, only ours. If it was ours, if it was us. Sometimes everything goes faster than you can control and you can't stop, much less understand where you are. I bought a dictionary and phrasebook, but "xièxie" (thank you) was the only word I ever got to use.

- Will Long, January 2019

More information can be found here.

3421 Hits

Michael Gira, "What is This?" Handmade CD/New Swans Album Fundraiser

cover image

"Hello There!

Some time ago, when I made the decision to disband the most recent line up of Swans, I did so not only with trepidation, but also with a great measure of sadness. This, after all, was the longest lasting grouping of core musicians in the 35 year plus history of Swans, and we made some great work. We were (and remain) friends and collaborated seamlessly as an ensemble. However, a too-comfortable familiarity had taken hold and none of us could see the music surprising us further, so we ditched it, at least for the time being. Following our final performances at Warsaw, in Brooklyn, in November of 2017, after sleeping for what seemed like 6 months, I set about writing new songs for the next version of Swans. I’ve completed about a dozen, and you’ll find 10 of them on the CD we're releasing as a fundraiser to help with the recording and production costs of the new Swans album. These are as close to the bone as it gets – just my acoustic guitar and voice. Should you delve into this collection, you'll discover that the material leans heavily towards words (lots of them) and vocals, which I suppose is a natural inclination after 7 years of immersion in music that was so adamantly geared towards long instrumental passages… Though I’m certain these are fine performances here, these are demos, which means that they are skeletal versions intended as a guide for building the songs with other musicians. And build them (and expand them) I will - presumably to my usual excessive degree, though in this case that proclivity won’t be expressed in a musical style similar to the chapter of Swans that recently concluded. That much I know. Just how things will actually end up sounding is another matter. I have lots of thoughts about how the orchestrations should go, but for now they’re still amorphous, and I’m looking forward to diving in with other musicians in the studio and following where the sound we generate leads. As always, I’ll be looking for the unintended. During a recent phone conversation with my friend Bill Rieflin, I expressed my uncertainty about where this record would lead, especially after 7 years of knowing pretty much in advance the timbre and vocabulary that would be used when we (the recent, past version of Swans) played, and Bill said something I’ll employ as a guide for this new chapter: Follow the uncertainty, make that the thing. A person could do worse than to follow the advice of a supreme musical savant like Mr. Rieflin, so I intend to keep his words in my head as we work. Joining me in this slippery quest will be the following:

The Necks: (Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton). This transcendental improv combo will play basic tracks to my guitar part on 2 songs, and the songs will be further orchestrated and sung to thereafter. Tony will also play various instruments on other songs.

Kristof Hahn: Stalwart stabber of the sky, recent Swan, and past member of Angels of Light, will play various guitars and lap steel.

Larry Mullins: Stellar past Swans and Angels of Light member, will play drums, orchestral percussion, piano, organ, and whatever else seems appropriate.

Yoyo Röhm: Yoyo is a Berlin bassist and composer/arranger, and he’ll play double bass and electric bass, and will also lend his considerable arrangement skills to the proceedings and will help in gathering orchestral musicians and additional signature players.

Ben Frost: Composer, recording artist, maker-of-sounds and psychic landscapes. I will sit down with Ben once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Anna von Hausswolff and Maria von Hausswolff: Anna is singer, organist, and composer and her sister Maria is a filmmaker who sometimes sings with Anna. Their voices combine wonderfully. They will sing myriad backing vocals on the record.

Baby Dee: recording artist, chanteuse extraordinaire, harpist and pianist. I wrote a song specifically for Dee to sing, and she has consented generously to come out of retirement to do so. She’ll also sing backing vocals, as will her friends Fay Christen and Ida Albertje Michels.

Jennifer Gira: Sometimes contributor to Swans, professionally arcane. Will contribute backing vocals and critique. She sings the song "The Nub" on the What is This? CD.

Bill Rieflin: Long time honorary Swan and past Angels of Light contributor, currently a member of King Crimson. Bill plays everything. I will sit down with Bill once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Cassis Staudt: Past member of Angels of Light and passionate accordion pumper, she will play on various songs.

Thor Harris: Robust recent Swan and past Angels of Light superman, recording artist, percussionist, drummer, torturer of homemade instruments. I will sit down with Thor once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Dana Schechter: Recording artist, past member of Angels of Light, bassist, vocalist, soundscape maker. I will sit down with Dana once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes: Long time purveyors of exotic Eastern European/Balkan/Turkish homemade hoedowns of psychedelic import as A Hawk and a Hacksaw. They sing and play multiple instruments. I will sit down with them once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Norman Westberg, Phil Puleo, Christopher Pravdica, Paul Wallfisch: Heroic recent Swans members, ex-Swans, and Swans again forever. I will sit down with them once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

M.Gira will sing and play guitar and produce the record."

More information can be found here.

4028 Hits

Michael Gira, "What is This?" Handmade CD/New Swans Album Fundraiser

 

"Hello There!

Some time ago, when I made the decision to disband the most recent line up of Swans, I did so not only with trepidation, but also with a great measure of sadness. This, after all, was the longest lasting grouping of core musicians in the 35 year plus history of Swans, and we made some great work. We were (and remain) friends and collaborated seamlessly as an ensemble. However, a too-comfortable familiarity had taken hold and none of us could see the music surprising us further, so we ditched it, at least for the time being. Following our final performances at Warsaw, in Brooklyn, in November of 2017, after sleeping for what seemed like 6 months, I set about writing new songs for the next version of Swans. I’ve completed about a dozen, and you’ll find 10 of them on the CD we're releasing as a fundraiser to help with the recording and production costs of the new Swans album. These are as close to the bone as it gets – just my acoustic guitar and voice. Should you delve into this collection, you'll discover that the material leans heavily towards words (lots of them) and vocals, which I suppose is a natural inclination after 7 years of immersion in music that was so adamantly geared towards long instrumental passages… Though I’m certain these are fine performances here, these are demos, which means that they are skeletal versions intended as a guide for building the songs with other musicians. And build them (and expand them) I will - presumably to my usual excessive degree, though in this case that proclivity won’t be expressed in a musical style similar to the chapter of Swans that recently concluded. That much I know. Just how things will actually end up sounding is another matter. I have lots of thoughts about how the orchestrations should go, but for now they’re still amorphous, and I’m looking forward to diving in with other musicians in the studio and following where the sound we generate leads. As always, I’ll be looking for the unintended. During a recent phone conversation with my friend Bill Rieflin, I expressed my uncertainty about where this record would lead, especially after 7 years of knowing pretty much in advance the timbre and vocabulary that would be used when we (the recent, past version of Swans) played, and Bill said something I’ll employ as a guide for this new chapter: Follow the uncertainty, make that the thing. A person could do worse than to follow the advice of a supreme musical savant like Mr. Rieflin, so I intend to keep his words in my head as we work. Joining me in this slippery quest will be the following:

The Necks: (Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton). This transcendental improv combo will play basic tracks to my guitar part on 2 songs, and the songs will be further orchestrated and sung to thereafter. Tony will also play various instruments on other songs.

Kristof Hahn: Stalwart stabber of the sky, recent Swan, and past member of Angels of Light, will play various guitars and lap steel.

Larry Mullins: Stellar past Swans and Angels of Light member, will play drums, orchestral percussion, piano, organ, and whatever else seems appropriate.

Yoyo Röhm: Yoyo is a Berlin bassist and composer/arranger, and he’ll play double bass and electric bass, and will also lend his considerable arrangement skills to the proceedings and will help in gathering orchestral musicians and additional signature players.

Ben Frost: Composer, recording artist, maker-of-sounds and psychic landscapes. I will sit down with Ben once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Anna von Hausswolff and Maria von Hausswolff: Anna is singer, organist, and composer and her sister Maria is a filmmaker who sometimes sings with Anna. Their voices combine wonderfully. They will sing myriad backing vocals on the record.

Baby Dee: recording artist, chanteuse extraordinaire, harpist and pianist. I wrote a song specifically for Dee to sing, and she has consented generously to come out of retirement to do so. She’ll also sing backing vocals, as will her friends Fay Christen and Ida Albertje Michels.

Jennifer Gira: Sometimes contributor to Swans, professionally arcane. Will contribute backing vocals and critique. She sings the song "The Nub" on the What is This? CD.

Bill Rieflin: Long time honorary Swan and past Angels of Light contributor, currently a member of King Crimson. Bill plays everything. I will sit down with Bill once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Cassis Staudt: Past member of Angels of Light and passionate accordion pumper, she will play on various songs.

Thor Harris: Robust recent Swan and past Angels of Light superman, recording artist, percussionist, drummer, torturer of homemade instruments. I will sit down with Thor once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Dana Schechter: Recording artist, past member of Angels of Light, bassist, vocalist, soundscape maker. I will sit down with Dana once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes: Long time purveyors of exotic Eastern European/Balkan/Turkish homemade hoedowns of psychedelic import as A Hawk and a Hacksaw. They sing and play multiple instruments. I will sit down with them once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

Norman Westberg, Phil Puleo, Christopher Pravdica, Paul Wallfisch: Heroic recent Swans members, ex-Swans, and Swans again forever. I will sit down with them once the songs have taken on a shape and I will say OK: What?

M.Gira will sing and play guitar and produce the record."

More information can be found here.

717 Hits

Tim Hecker, "Anoyo"

Anoyo ("the world over there") draws from the same sessions which led to the 2018 work Konoyo, but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Hecker's processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters.

This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return.

More information can be found here.

3757 Hits

My Disco, "Environment" and "Environment Remixes"

"My Disco finally unveil their debut album for Downwards, a brilliant rendering of concrète/industrial styles recorded in the same Berlin studio often frequented by Einstürzende Neubauten, Pan Sonic and Keiji Haino, somehow channeling the spirit of all three. It's an intensely rich and wildly unexpected trip that takes in the ragged intensity of Suicide alongside gong recordings and a kind of isolationist ambient spirit that resides somewhere between Selected Ambient Works Vol II and Raime.

Environment finds My Disco in the midst of deep synth despair, leaving behind the gnashing guitars in favour of cold metallic percussion and gloomy pads reverberating in derelict, factory-like space. Gutting out the driving, mathy repetition of their prized early work (2010's Steve Albini-produced "Young/You" is a favorite of Karl O’Connor/Regis), the Melbourne-based trio now recall the ungodly offspring of Raime and Swans, operating with an increased appreciation of space, rhythm and tone that will shock even the hardest to please explorers of avant-rock and industrial fault lines.

In no uncertain terms, its 8 tracks plumb the depths of a foul mood, strafing thru a series of antechamber-like stations like some inelegant beast encumbered with clanking manacles and ankle restraints. Thanks to the visceral, vivid nature of the recording and production, the devil lies in the synaesthetic sonic/visual detail, riddling a mostly wordless narrative that perfectly says it without saying it.

Biting down first with the jagged metallic klang and gnawing drones of "An Intimate Conflict," the album continues to fetishize both bleeding-raw and cinematic themes thru the torture chamber ambience of "Exercise In Sacrifice," and the red-lining tone poem "Act," leading into belly of the beast bass growls on "Rival Colour," before the dissonant, keening might of "No Permanence" calves off into a closer to end all closers, with the band's Cornell Wilczek feeding Buchla Easel tones into the empty tank strikes and fetid atmosphere of "Forever" with a febrile effect worthy of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement.

By any measure, Environment is one of Downwards’ most singular albums, and a must-check for disciples of proper, unheimlich sonics. Trust it’'l wipe that art school smirk right off your mug."

-via Boomkat

More information can be found here and here.

4116 Hits

Julia Reidy, "Brace, Brace"

Brace, Brace is Julia Reidy’s soaring Slip return: a dread-tinged incantation unfurling from breath-down-the-neck field recordings, auto-murmured voice, synthetic hum, and irrepressible guitar kinetics.

Reidy's signature 12-string playing - precise, burrowing, rhapsodic - dominates the LP's outer cuts, framing a plaintive electric centre. Blooms of arpeggiations and desolate strums re-inflect slow-moving pitch sequences; the music feels at once on fire and graceful, inevitable.

Perhaps most surprising is how organic Brace, Brace's expanded palette feels. Reidy's electronics are subtly eerie extensions, alien resonances of her playing, both embedding her instrument and making it somehow unreal. This strange smear of body and apparition is neatly nailed in Reidy's sung-to-herself vocals, coaxed out and encroached upon by autotune.

Succeeding issues of her work by Feeding Tube and Room 40's A Guide To Saints, Brace, Brace is a definitive statement from a blazing, restless talent.

More information can be found here.

 

3319 Hits

Kyle Bobby Dunn, "From Here to Eternity"

From Here to Eternity is the first full length album from Canadian composer Kyle Bobby Dunn since his 2014 long play, Infinite Sadness.

The use of processed guitar and his passion for cinematic swells reaches new realms that are markedly more ominous and dense than his previous long play. Kyle Bobby Dunn also recruited prominent ambient composers and a handful of his favorite musicians to arrange their own instrumentation for several works on this release that add multiple layers of mystery and intrigue of the human mind and heart. Artists that contributed to this effort are: Benoît Pioulard, Simon Scott, Loscil, Pan-American, Wayne Robert Thomas, Isaac Helsen, Mark Nelson, Robert Donne, Maryam Sirvan, and Michael Vincent Waller.

Kyle Bobby Dunn wanted this album to be very much about the eternal conflict with all human emotions and life circumstances and to somehow go even further than the concepts left behind on Infinite Sadness. The moods and sounds range from angelic choral elements to motion picture soundtrack epics; permeating the skeletal system of the listener with a sense of boundaries and mortality. There are also moments that capture the dynamics of the artist performing in the live setting perfectly and were engineered meticulously by Matt Rogalsky and Kyle Bobby Dunn himself. Truly a difficult album of unending loss, confusion, pain, identity, disease and even death, but also some of the most reflective and warm moments of his career to date.

Releases May 3, 2019 on Past Inside the Present.

3679 Hits